From: Iver Larsen (email@example.com)
Date: Sun Mar 03 2002 - 07:24:44 EST
> I am reading Mark. I am quite puzzled at the sentences I found in Mark 4.
> (1) 4.4: EGENETO EN TWi SPEIREIN hO MEN ESPESEN PARA THN hODON
> The best translation of it would be:It came to pass, as he sowed, one
> [seed] fell by the way side. But can the relative pronoun hO be used as an
> indeterminate pronoun meaning "one"?
I would say not just one seed but one portion of the seeds. (No word for
seed(s) is explicit, but implied from SPEIREIN). The relative hOS MEN
correlated with hOS DE or as here ALLO is common as already stated. Maybe
the relative goes back to an idea like "(the part/this) which is
first...(the part/that) which is next..." Remember that the relative in
Greek often has an implicit demonstrative force.
> (2) 4:15-20: hOUTOI, hOUTOI, hOUTOI, and EKEINOI: These, these, these, and
> hOUTOI/EKEINOI is a demonstrative pronoun, which is used to refer to the
> things that are already established in the previous discourse or the
> current situation. But in this context, they mean "Some, some, some, the
> others". Can these demonstrative pronouns used in that way?
hOUTOS can also be kataphoric, referring to what comes next, not what has
already been established. It can also be deictic, pointing to a real life
situation known to speaker and hearer.
Maybe Jesus wants you to picture yourself standing by the field looking at
the seed having been sown. "You see, these seeds here - hOUTOI hOI SPOROI -
fell on the path, and they represent those people who..." Whether the plural
masculine hOUTOI (these ones) refer to an implied plural of SPOROS (if such
a plural exists, I am not sure) or to an implied ANQRWPOI probably doesn't
matter. Parables often balance on the edge between the illustration and the
You have four sets of seeds/people: hOUTOI, hOUTOI, ALLOI, and EKEINOI:
These, these, others, and those.
> (3) The dangling sentence in 4:19?
> In 4.18b, we have hOUTOI EISIN hOI TON LOGON AKOUSANTES, and expect
> a relative clause which further defines hOI TON LOGON AKOUSANTES,
> as in other cases.
> But instead we have an independent sentence in 4:19 followed by KAI.
> Because hOI TON LOGON AKOUSANTES is incomplete as a reference to an
> entity, 4.18b cannot be a meaningful sentence in itself. If we can
> interpret KAI introducing 4:19 as SUCH THAT or WHERE, then
> we can solve the problem. I sort of remember that the Hebrew
> WAW consecutive has such a function. Do we here have KAI used in the
> same way as the WAW consecutive?
4.18b is grammatically a complete sentence - those are the ones who heard
the word -, but semantically incomplete, because more needs to be said. Yes,
the KAI is the Hebraic KAI - WAW -which is very common in Mark.
> (4) 4:26: hOUTOS ESTIN hH BASILEIA TOU QEOU hWS AQRWPOS BALHi TON
> SPORON EPI THS GHS.
> The typical translation is: So is the kingdom of God, as if a man put
> a seed in the earth.
> But this English sentence is difficult to make sense grammatically.
> The relationship between "So is the kingdom of God" and "as if
> a man put a seed on the earth" cannot be explained in terms of
> the concepts known to us. One solution to this problem is to consider
> that we have two sentences rather than one complex one, as follows:
> hOUTOS ESTIN hH BASILEIA TOU QEOU.
> Such is the kingdom of God.
> hWS AQRWPOS BALHi TON SPORON EPI THS GHS.
> It is like a man put a seed on the earth.
> Another solution is to take it as follows:
> Such is the kingdom of God that a man put a seed on the earth.
> Here hWS is translated into THAT.
> Does it make sense?
Your first option makes better sense to me. The introduction to parables is
notoriously difficult to translate and most literal translations in English
are very misleading, as if the Kingdom of God was *like* a man, ten virgins,
a pearl, a merchant, a king, etc. As is usual with literal translations,
they often distort the meaning and cause unnecessary confusion to the
reader. The Contemporary English Version is the best translation when it
comes to introducing parables. hOUTOS can function like the English
kataphoric "here (comes)" - think of Mark 1:1. Or you could understand an
implied word like "story" so you get "This (following) (story) is about..."
The ESTIN is a link with a wider meaning than just English "be". The idea in
all these parables is: Here comes a story about the Kingdom of God. It is
like this - hWS: A person threw his seeds on the ground....
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